Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Eau de Toilet, yes toilet.

Look away now if you're delicate in nature and are prone to "the vapors" as this post isn't for you.  For you, I will blog about Hello Kitty in the very near future.  Fot others, read on.  I feel like I can't be a good gaijin (foreigner) in Japan without blogging about the amazingness that is The Toilet here in Tokyo.  Not a pretty subject, but necessary in nature.

First some background info.  There are 3 types of toilets that I've encountered  around the city thus far.  We'll call them 1. The Squat/Japanese style , 2. The Western Style and 3. The Cadillac.   Number 1. is exactly as it is named.  For most of us, read: me, this means that I will abruptly turn on heel and walk out of the restroom upon encountering this beast as there is just no way in hell that is happening.  Hole in the ground people.  Go to this website for full instructions on how to use this lovely model although you don't need to be a genius to figure it out.

Number 2., The Western Style as the name implies is what most of us are used to - no fancy gadgets, but a bit more civilized than a hole in the ground.  Western-style flush toilets in Japan commonly include water-saving features such as the ability to choose between a "big" flush and a "little" flush. Many toilets also route the water to fill the tank through a faucet over the tank allowing users to rinse their hands as historically,  the toilet and wash basin were in separate rooms.  Although this is not the case in our master bath, we do have this feature on our toilet.  To give you a visual, it's like a water fountain (or a "bubbler" if you're in WI) on the top of your tank.  As you can imagine, this water feature provides hours of amusement for the 2 year old who utilises it as a matchbox car wash. Why this strikes me as all kinds of wrong, I'm not sure but I look the other way as it does keep him amused and out of my makeup while I am in the shower.

Now onto Number 3 or The Cadillac as I like to call it ,also known as Super Toilet or Washlet.  While this bad boy may look like the Western Style, it is far superior and in a league of it's own.  First of all, it has it's own control panel on the wall.  Now these instructions will be entirely in Japanese, thus you will not know what button you are pushing which gives the term "living dangerously" a whole new meaning.  Features include, but are not limited to:  toilet seat heating, blow dryer, water stream adjustments ala a bidet - you can choose a "posterior" wash or the "feminine" wash.    You can then chose heat of water and strength of stream.  There is also the automatic lift and close of the toilet seat lid and of course the  air deodorizing feature.  My fave  feature is the automatic sensor that starts a flushing noise as soon as you enter the stall.  Apparently women, in particular are so horrified by any sounds in the toilet, that is is better to have a continuous loud flushing noise going on in the stall while you do your business. Thereby calling more attention to the fact, yes?  Or perhaps that's just my take on it.  FYI - more than 75% of Japanese households have this style toilet so come to Japan, and you'll most likely experience The Cadillac.  I should mention that nowhere on above mentioned all Japanese control panel, is there a button to flush so you'll spend approx 5 minutes frantically scanning the toilet, stall, seat, buttons looking for this necessary feature.  Since I don't want to spoil all your fun, I'm not going to tell you where to find it.

Sayonara for now....


  1. Note to self: Don't read anymore of Michele's "Toilet Tales" whilst sipping coffee. Hot latte does not make a good nasal cavity wash. But my hynie sure would enjoy a warmed seat on a cold UK morning :)

  2. Who knew that so much could be written about toilets! Thank you for widening my horizons.

  3. I love the photos that go with the buttons.